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SAFETY

Workplace active shooter: Run, hide, fight

By Lynne Curry It’s not your imagination. There are more incidents of violence across our country than ever before. It doesn’t matter where you live. Nor that you don’t believe it could happen in your town, your workplace or at your kids’ school. You’ve seen the news reports. The violence in workplaces including offices, schools, restaurants, train stations, malls, and churches. Innocence can’t save you. It might get you killed. Would you know what to do if  someone started shooting? Knowing what to do could keep you alive. Suppose you hear something odd. At first, you think it’s a car backfiring. Then you hear the same sound again and again. Gunshots, repeated in rapid succession. Fear grips you. You hear others screaming. You struggle to catch a breath. You haven’t seen a… . . . read more

ADVICE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Is your law office vulnerable to Russian cyberattacks?

The White House is urging businesses to review and improve cybersecurity because of a heightened risk of cyber attacks from Russia. A statement from the Biden-Harris Administration advises businesses to take the following steps: Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication on your systems to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system; Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats; Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors; Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors; Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that… . . . read more

DRUGS & ALCOHOL

High at work: Anyone else smell that?

By Paul Edwards More often than you would think, we get calls from managers wondering what they can do about someone whom they think is impaired at work. When that happens, we immediately go into crisis control mode because, well, impairment at work is never acceptable. In this article, we are going to discuss impairment and odors from the perspective of marijuana legalization. From job candidates showing up to interviews smelling like a skunk to employees showing up to their shift distracted with bloodshot eyes, knowing how to handle an employee’s potential marijuana use has only gotten more complicated. Currently, marijuana legalization is in limbo between state versus federal government. While many states have moved to legalize or decriminalize its use, marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug under… . . . read more

INFORMATION SECURITY

Protect your data as Russia-Ukraine war increases cybersecurity risk

By Ron Slyker As part of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russian cyberattacks have primarily targeted Ukrainian government and bank systems, but the attacks may spread to countries outside of Ukraine soon. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the FBI have warned organizations to increase protection as a precaution in case these attacks begin to affect the United States. Experts have reported known Russian cyber groups gathering information on U.S. infrastructure like electric and gas sites. While the FBI and CISA have received no warnings of direct threats to any Western countries, it is best to act now to protect your information. What can you do to protect your business from global conflict? Take action. Experts believe that any Russian cyberattacks would be disruptive, rather than intended to steal data, but… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

Your keycard could be your office’s top security threat

By Todd Burner The days of tumbler locks and keys are fading, especially in high-traffic areas. Proximity cards—those credit-card-sized, contactless devices that grant users access to a variety of areas—have largely taken their place. But for too many facilities that card represents one of its biggest security gaps. Proximity cards (also known as keycards) are incredibly convenient—and certainly have some security and financial benefits. With personnel changes, there’s no need to physically rekey the office or change the locks. That can all be handled electronically without replacing the hardware. The problem is: Security protocols in many of those cards are nowhere near as secure as many security and property managers believe them to be. Instructional videos on how to clone the technology are easily found online—and the equipment to do… . . . read more

TERMINATION

To avoid a messy workplace theft investigation, can we just fire our prime suspect?

Question: Several years ago, when one of our employees was stealing from other employees’ purses and desks, we called the police. The process—calling the police, alerting our insurance carrier and interviewing multiple employees to show fairness so we wouldn’t get sued for wrongful termination when we fired the one employee—tore apart our office. Some of our best employees couldn’t believe we didn’t trust them. We tried to explain we had wanted to be fair, and that if we only singled certain employees, we’d stigmatize them forever, but two of our best, long-term employees were so angry they quit within a few months. Once again, we have a problem. Several employees have reported missing small things from their desks. These items appear to have been taken at night. Since everyone has… . . . read more

HIRING

An employee cyberstalks potential hires, looking for dirt

By Lynne Curry  According to rumor, one of my co-workers conducts unauthorized criminal background investigations on prospective employees without their knowledge or permission. This cyber-snoop doesn’t work in human resources but collects information and passes it along to the hiring managers. She’s also been known to interrogate employees after they’re hired about information she’s learned. We’ve also been told that, despite being married, this employee masquerades as a single woman on dating sites and essentially cyberstalks her targets. My co-workers and I don’t know what to do about this employee, as our members of our senior leadership team have indicated they support this woman one hundred percent. What can those of us who find this repugnant do about it? Answer:  According to employment and labor attorney Paul Wilcox, “It’s not surprising… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your law office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physical distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to wear a well-fitted mask, physically distance and practice other prevention protocols when interacting with unvaccinated individuals from multiple… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

How to deal with new friction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated

By Lynne Curry bio After five employees boarded an elevator, two additional employees attempted to get on as well. One of the employees already on the elevator asked these two not to board. “We can’t remain six feet apart if you get on.” One of the employees wanting to board said, “It’s only a short distance.” After the employees arrived on their floor, the back and forth between these two employees continued. “Your mask isn’t on tight.” “I’m okay with it.” “Are you vaccinated?” “I don’t trust the vaccines.” “You put the rest of us at risk.” “If you’re vaccinated, you have nothing to worry about.” “Not if you contract a variant, infect the rest of us, and we take the problem home to our families.” In workplaces across the… . . . read more

TOOL

Model Law Office Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Policy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other public health organizations mandate that employers take additional cleaning and hygiene measures during the pandemic. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt for your own use based on your specific circumstances and applicable local and specialty rules.


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